President Obama recently called on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Thursday to expand hospital visitation rights to non-family members, a step that would aid same-sex couples who are often barred from their partners’ bedsides. For all our FamilyBlendz family (http://www.twitter.com/familyblendz), we are seeing opening doors by leaps and bounds and it is because of your support that we continue to share each GLBT success.
In a presidential memorandum according to Politico.com, Obama requested that Sebelius use her rulemaking authority to require all hospitals that participate in Medicare or Medicaid to respect the rights of patients to designate visitors.
He wrote that failing to respect patients’ wishes about who may visit them or make medical decisions of their behalf has “real consequences.”
“It means that doctors and nurses do not always have the best information about patients' medications and medical histories and that friends and certain family members are unable to serve as intermediaries to help communicate patients' needs,” he wrote. “It means that a stressful and at times terrifying experience for patients is senselessly compounded by indignity and unfairness. And it means that all too often, people are made to suffer or even to pass away alone, denied the comfort of companionship in their final moments while a loved one is left worrying and pacing down the hall.”
Obama said “uniquely affected are gay and lesbian Americans who are often barred from the bedsides of the partners with whom they may have spent decades of their lives” but are “unable to be there for the person they love, and unable to act as a legal surrogate if their partner is incapacitated.”
In addition, widowers are sometimes being denied the support of friends, and members of religious orders sometimes can’t let other members of their order make medical decisions on their behalf.